New Jersey State Triathlon Race Recap

This past weekend I raced the New Jersey State Triathlon in Mercer County NJ(settle in, this is a long one).  This race is a championship race for the state of New Jersey and I was excited going in but nervous at the same time.  My training had ramped up significantly since my last tri.  I had some long runs, some speed work and a few long rides going into this race.  I knew my training would get me through but would it be enough?

As I pulled into the park and headed to packet pick up the day before the race I saw A LOT of expensive bikes….this could only mean one of two things, people with lots of money or people who were very serious about racing, but it had to be one of the two.  Either way I rolled in and picked up my packet.  We could not leave our bikes there which was ok, but we still got a chance to walk through transition and check things out.  I knew that historically this race was not wetsuit legal although I optimistically packed mine.  I stopped by the TYR tent and picked up a Toqure speed suit with anticipation of wearing that morning of.  As I finished the pre race meeting was still going on so I sat down on the lawn to listen in.

New speed suit
Pre race meeting
Numbers on the rack are always nice.
Checking out the swim course.
Now I don’t consider myself a pro at this in any sense of the word, but when I started to listen to some of the questions, I knew it was time for me to head out.  I still needed to check in to the hotel and find an italian restaurant for dinner.  
After finding the hotel it was time for dinner.  I went and had a delicious meal at Tre Piani, which was a small place right near the hotel.  From there it was time to head back.  I went back and got my things together for race day.  I put my numbers on, set up my chip etc. and got ready for bed.  The night before is never anything exciting, but when you have nerves and a 4:30 wake up call what do you expect?
My favorite alarm!
The next morning came early and fast.  I was nervous.  I packed my things, got in the car and it was off to the park.  Once I got there, I set up my water bottles, put air in my tires and walked over to transition.  As I was walking through the field I heard some guy yelling but I couldn’t hear what he was saying.  As I got closer he said it again “IT’S A WETSUIT LEGAL SWIM!! WATER TEMP IS 77 DEGREES!”  I thought to myself, this man is lying, there is no way the water dropped three degrees over night.  I had my suit in my bag anyway so I continue on to transition.  I racked my bike and filled my bottles. After one porter potty visit, the waiting game started.  I knew I needed to get in the water with this speed suit on and then I heard the guy on the loud speaker “Well folks for one of the first times in history today’s race will be wetsuit legal, the water temp is 77 degrees!” So I knew I didn’t need to put the speed suit on.  I was a little pissed the I dropped the coin on it but I knew I was wearing my suit.  
Setting up in transition.
Swim Course.
7:10 rolled around and it was time to head down to the start.  As I started walking, I saw someone racing for Wattie Ink who I follow on Instagram and I wanted to introduce myself so bad and tell her how much I love following her and her team.  I have loved this team and my dream is to one day race for them but I was just too chicken to say anything and I didn’t want to bother her on race day like that.  After the national anthem and some pre race stuff it was time to zip up the suit and get in the water.  An in water start, another first for me but I have practiced them and I had a game plan.  I went out to the line and took my spot on the left side.  5, 4, 3, 2, 1……GO!!!
As the swim started, I quickly found out I was racing with the big boys.  My wave was huge, it was men 29 and under plus one of the older male waves all together.  I was running into people left and right for almost the first 200+ meters.  It seemed like I couldn’t get into a groove.  After I settled in I knew I made a mistake right away, I started to get hot.  From then on I took the swim 100 meters at a time.  At each 100 meter mark I would take a few breaststroke and then continue on to the next buoy.  It got to a point where I just wanted to swim to end so bad.  I saw the 1300 meter mark and I knew I only had 200 to go, I can do this.  From there a few of the females from the wave behind me had caught me…..if that wasn’t a confidence crusher! I hit the boat ramp and it was into T1.
As I looked down at my watch, I saw my swim time…31:XX, not what I had hoped for but not awful either.  I ripped my wetsuit off and was out on the bike.  Once on the bike course, my stomach was still settling from the swim.  I knew I needed to wait at least 15 minutes before I could take in any sort of nutrition.  By the time that hit I was so ready for some gel.  I slammed my first gel and starting laying down the hammer.  My goal for the bike in this race was more time in areo.  In the first lap I found myself in and out of areo, getting a feel for the course.  As I hit the sign for the second loop I knew I needed to hammer harder and spend more time in areo for the second lap.  From then on I was in areo for almost the entire second lap.  Slamming down hills and crushing flats, for the first time I felt like a “real triathlete.”  As lame as it might sound, I thought of Dave Mirra who I have been looking up to and I knew I needed to stay down in areo and ride as he would.  As I was going through the course for the second time I could tell some of the later swim waves had found their way on to the course.  I was getting smoked by some dudes on $10,000 setups and holding my own with others.  I came into the finish and just hammered through the park to T2.  Finial bike time of 1:14:XX for 25 miles.  
T2 was quick, bikes shoes off, run shoes on, nutrition, belt, GO!  After Escape, I knew I needed to ease into the run.  As I left transition and headed onto the course I heard them announce the winner with a time of 1:57 and I just laughed.  The run course is through the park and again is flat and fast.  As I looked down at my watch I could see my pace bouncing between 7:30 and 7:15/ mile.  I just kept thinking my legs around going to give out at some point, they have to, but I couldn’t slow down!  
About half way through the run!
The run was getting hot and hard.  My pace slowed in a few spots to somewhere up in the 8’s but then worked its way back down.  I hit the five mile mark and knew I only had one left.  I wanted to finish it in 48 mins.  As I dropped the hammer one last time, I saw the 6 mile marker.  One of the beautiful things about this race was the volunteer presence along the run course.  All the people in blue shirts pictured above were volunteers who came in to cheer us on.  I was coming up to the tail end of the race and it was just packed with people yelling and screaming.  As I headed into the chute I heard a guy yelling and then he just started laughing hysterically and said “Nice hat man!!” I couldn’t help but start laughing!  It was down the finish chute and I gave it everything I had.  Finial run time was 48:29.  I missed my goal by 29 seconds.  
Coming in hot!
Hitting the misting tent.
Post race.
 Post race I went to look up my times.  The first attempt there was nothing there so I thought I was too early.  I went back to my car and changed and came back again and still nothing.  I found a woman in the results tent and asked her why they wouldn’t be there…….she said “Did you check the DQ list?” and with that my heart sank.  I felt like a school aged child checking to see if I got the lead in the play.  I went up and down the sheet of paper three times…..NOTHING!! Thank god, with that I went back to her and let her know I was not on there.  She informed me they had some issues and it would all be posted later.  With a finial time of 2:37:56 I was 16th out of 30 in my AG and 309 out on 1139 overall.  It wasn’t what I had hoped for but it was a good race.  I knew going in that this race was going to be competitive, but I had no idea it would be this FIERCE!  With everyone gunning for nationals, I got a look at how competitive this sport can really be! 
One thing I left out from the run, was quite possibly the coolest part of the entire day.  As I was headed for one of the turn arounds I saw this guy coming towards me, I noticed that he was starring at me for a good while.  I thought nothing of it, but out of no where he yelled out “HEY!! I know you!”  I figured out that it was a follower from my instagram page that I had gone back and forth with a few times.  He recognized me on the run and was motivating me every time we crossed paths.  It was so cool to see someone who knew me and knew my story out on the course.  I remember reading a post from NYC Running Mama about her experience with this and I thought it would be so cool if that ever happened to me and it did!
Post race meeting Stefan for the first time.
I later found out that there were more people who recognized me along the course and yelled at me but unfortunately I was so in the zone that I did not hear them.  It is one of the coolest feelings in the world knowing that there are people out there reading my stuff and following what I am doing!  
All in all it was a good race.  Big time learning experience but I wouldn’t trade the weekend for the world.  I had an amazing time with some amazing people and I loved every second of it.  I thank everyone for their support a long the way.  As always for all the texts before, during, and after the race.  The support on the course from both people who knew me and people who didn’t and from my readers.  Next up is AC International Tri sprint distance in September!
All for now.
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

I do not post on here on a daily basis but feel free to catch me on other social media!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *